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Chances are when you open your doors to the world, guests are not going to be filing in. You’re going to have to earn their trust.

I’ll tell you how to do that.

Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.

I am your instructor, Gerry MacPherson.

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If you are a regular follower of Keystone HPD’s posts and are wondering where the weekly edition is today,

it will now be released on Thursdays at 1 pm EST. The great news is that the INNsider Tips now be made available on Mondays.

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Prepare for When Guests Return Introduction

If you look out your window, will you see brontosauruses or triceratops wandering around – no. Why?

When the asteroid hit they were not able to adapt. In the last year and a half, Covid-19 has been a hospitality property mass extinction event and if properties didn’t or are not willing to adapt, they will not survive.

Speak to any hospitality property owner or manager, and they will tell you the turmoil that they have been facing.

When should we open?

When will our guests start returning?

How do I forecast occupancy for the next 6 months, 12 months, 5 years with so much uncertainty?

Is my business safe?

It’s no secret that the hospitality industry has taken a massive hit in the chaos that was 2020 but if you look closely, you can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

What are the signs?

People are tired of being stuck in a lockdown, vaccine distribution is ramping up and summer is just around the corner.

Although it’s half of 2019, airline, hotel, and restaurant spending has doubled in many corners of the planet compared to last year when the pandemic first ravaged the world.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still advising against travel, but indicators already show travel is set to play a pivotal role in the widely predicted 2021 economic boom.

Travel set to make a gradual comeback but it will be different and if you haven’t done so yet, it is time to start preparing.

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How do we know people are getting ready to travel?

Many have been researching for travel inspiration for the past year as something to look forward to once vaccinated.

A Booking.com survey from October that polled more than 20,000 people around the world found that 95% of respondents were spending free time looking at travel inspiration, with 38% looking at potential destinations at least once a week.

65% of respondents were excited about travelling in the future.

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The tide is turning

The hospitality industry has been through the worst year in its history, however, better times are right around the corner.

What you do now will determine how quickly your property will encounter recovery. Getting your team focused on existing business, new opportunities and how to protect, capture and grow that business will serve you well today and into the future.

How can hospitality properties up their game to attract these eager travellers? It may come down to revised safety & security procedures, some careful marketing and comparing your hospitality property to your market.

You need to take action or you will be left behind.

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Is your hospitality property on the move?

If your property is open and it is doing as well as, or better than, the market, chances are you are doing things right. You probably have at least a small sales team or you are keeping up with what’s going on around you. It’s important you don’t lose this momentum. As we have seen throughout the past year, things turn on a dime.

If you are a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, you will have access to actionable workshops where I go into more detail with techniques you can use.

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Are you ready to recover?

If your property is ready to move forward, you have some work to do. The work stays the same even if you are in this situation and your market is in a different category.

For members of the Hospitality Property School Group, I go into more detail in the actionable workshops section, with techniques you can use.

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What if you’re still on hold?

Hospitality properties in this category may not be completely in control of their destiny. The takeaways for these properties will vary depending on the cause of the anxiety, especially if you are in one of the markets where COVID restrictions are still impacting performance.

It’s more important to understand where you stand.

For members of the Hospitality Property School Group, I go into more detail in the actionable workshops section, with your best next steps.

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Is this making sense so far? Let me know by leaving a comment

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Reviewing & revising, and adjusting

Getting the attention of those travellers looking to make up for the disappointments of 2020 will take a reassessment of accommodations and policies by hospitality property owners and managers.

Three major areas where properties can direct their efforts:

  • Safety and sanitation policies

 

  • Feature offerings

 

  • Overall room standards

Each of these categories can be a place for improvement and a source of guest attraction. As COVID vaccine rollout progresses, hospitality properties can review, revise, and adjust these hospitality components to draw in business.

For members of the Hospitality Property School Group, I go into more detail in the actionable workshops section, for all three areas.

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Embracing technology to effectively capture demand

Catching the attention of these travellers requires a more personal and tailored approach. Mass marketing and generic up-sells will no longer hit the mark; it’s all about repositioning your services and fine-tuning your offering to meet the dominating needs of modern guests.

From there, you can up-level your offering to something more attuned to their needs, reaching them with targeted email marketing, active social media promotion and curated up-selling via your internet booking engine.

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Redefining your marketing strategy

Over the last year, guests have grown even more accustomed to fast technology, online communication and rapid responses, particularly during long stints of lockdowns, which means you’ll need to keep your finger on the pulse to deliver at the pace they now expect.

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Make a lasting impression across your social channels

Social media will be more significant than ever and is a key marketing channel for building trust and nurturing relationships with guests, both past and prospective. Make a positive impression by engaging with guests, answering queries.

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In Conclusion

With pre-pandemic strategies now outdated and guests’ needs continuing to fluctuate with changing travel conditions, creating and maintaining strong connections has never been more crucial.

A whole new era of travellers has emerged on the back of COVID, booking last-minute and domestic-fuelled getaways in quieter, crowd-free areas.

Staycation booms have been particularly noticeable in areas close to nature and beaches, with those that can travel feeling safer exploring locally than venturing overseas. Those who are no longer restrained by physical offices are using their remote freedom to take a ‘workation,’ seeking longer stays in properties that boast good views, stable internet, and homely amenities. Others are craving local experiences, free from tourists and off the beaten path.

Determine your target market and design your property to fulfil their needs, prepare for when guests return and you will be headed to recovery much sooner than later.

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Is your property ready for when guests start to return?

Let me know in the comments.

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You will have access to this episode for the next six weeks and then it’s locked in the vault for Hospitality Property School Group members only.

To see all the other valuable material you’d have access to as a member of the Hospitality Property School Group, check out the short video in the episode post-show notes.

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How to Prepare for When Guests Return | Ep. #248

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In the next episode, I will talk about strategies to help hospitality properties acquire and retain customers.

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That’s it for today’s episode,

Until next time, have a fun day.

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Are you getting your weekly INNsider Tips? You can find the link in the show notes.

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TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE ON KEYSTONE HOSPITALITY PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT:

https://keystonehpd.com/how-to-prepare-for-when-guests-return-248

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